What Are Hormones, And What Do They Do?
Hormones are special chemical messengers in the body that are produced in the endocrine glands. These chemical messengers control major body functions, from simple basic needs such as hunger to complex systems like reproduction, and even the emotions and mood.
Properly Understanding the major hormones and their roles in the body will help patients take control of their health.
Human Endocrine System
The right way to answer the question “what are hormones?” is to understand some of the major hormonal systems in the body. Hormones are produced by glands, which are part of the endocrine system.
Important hormone-producing glands include:
The hypothalamus is responsible for body functions such as hunger, temperature, moods and the release of hormones from other glands. It also plays a role in controls thirst, sleep and sex drive.
This gland controls the level of calcium in the body.
The Thymus gland plays an important role in the function of the adaptive immune system and the maturity of the thymus and creates T-cells.
The Pancreas gland produces the insulin which helps control blood sugar levels.
The thyroid gland produces hormones linked with calorie burning and heart rate.
The Adrenal glands produce the hormones which control sex drive and cortisol, and the stress hormone.
It is considered as a “master control gland,”. It controls other glands and makes the hormones that trigger growth.
The pineal gland also called the thalamus; responsible for produces serotonin derivatives of melatonin, that affects sleep.
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Available only in women, the ovaries secrete hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, considered as the female sex hormones.
Available only in men, the testes secrete the male sex hormone such as testosterone and produce sperm.
These glands work together in order to create and manage the body’s major functions.
Types of Hormones
What hormones exactly doing in the body? The body has various types of hormones, however, certain types have a major role to play in the body’s health and well-functioning. Understanding such roles is very important for those people who are looking to protect and manage their better health.
Major Types of Hormones and their role in the body:
For women, estrogen (or estradiol) is the main hormone which controls the Sex-related functions. It causes puberty, Makes the body and uterus ready for pregnancy, and regulates the menstrual cycle. During menopause, estrogen hormone level changes responsible for many of the uncomfortable symptoms women experience.
Progesterone is quite similar to estrogen but is not considered as the main sex hormone. Like estrogen, it assists with the menstrual cycle and plays a vital role in the pregnancy.
Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” because it plays a very important role in assists the body in responding to stress. This is the only one out of many functions of this hormone.
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Melatonin levels change throughout the whole day, increasing during the night to trigger the responses that cause the sleep.
Testosterone is the main and very important sex hormone in men. It causes puberty, increases bone density, triggers facial hair growth, and responsible for muscle mass growth and strength.
When all of these are in proper balance, hormones help the body thrive, but even small problems with hormones (Hormonal imbalance) can cause serious and life-threatening effects. If you have any concerns about any of your hormones, consult with a qualified endocrinologist.